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Japan, China to convene panel on setting farm import levels.

TOKYO, Jan. 11 Kyodo

Japan and China have agreed to convene in early February the first meeting of a bilateral trade panel to discuss import levels for three types of Chinese farm products, farm minister Tsutomu Takebe said Friday.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takebe told a news conference that government officials and representatives of farmers and exporters from both countries will assemble to fix the mutually acceptable import quotas of stone leeks, shiitake mushrooms and rushes used in tatami mats.

Japan will be represented by officials from the farm ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as the deputies from the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (Zenchu), farm ministry officials said.

The Chinese side will be represented by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Chamber of Commerce for Importers and Exporters of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, they said.

It remains to be determined where the new panel will meet and exactly what topics will be discussed at the first meeting, they said.

The panel will be convened in line with an agreement last December between the governments of the two countries to set up such a panel.

On Dec. 21, Japan agreed to avoid imposing emergency import curbs on the three products in exchange for China removing its retaliatory tariffs on Japanese cars and other industrial products.

At that time, the two sides agreed to negotiate ''appropriate'' trade levels for the three disputed products at the venue of the panel.

The trade row over the three items flared up last April when Japan slapped a temporary, 200-day curb on imports of the three items, leading Beijing to impose 100% tariffs on Japanese cars, mobile phones and air conditioners in June last year.

The import curbs expired Nov. 8. Japan had planned to invoke the World Trade Organization's ''safeguard'' clause, under which it could restrict the imports for up to four years.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jan 14, 2002
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